Major improvements to the Strand have cut accidents and regenerated a depressed area, claimed WS Atkins Planning Consultants associate Dr Farshid Kamali.
The historic street is a processional route linking the West End with the City and has been a major link in the capital for at least 1,000 years.
Kamali recalled the streetscape three years ago: congested pavements, a cluttered mess of street furniture such as signs and lampposts and restricted pedestrian crossings. 'There was a general air of neglect. It was looking tired.'
Client Westminster City Council's brief was to improve visual quality and enchance safety and
ease of use for pedestrians between Trafalgar Square and Aldwych. Reviving public transport use was also a key element, said Kamali.
The £2.2M answer lay in widening footpaths, reducing the space available for cars and buses. Barriers running down the middle of the road were taken away and split pedestrian
Kamali added that unnecessary street furniture was uprooted to make the street look less cluttered. Bus stops were 'rationalised', bus lanes extended and new taxi ranks provided.
A prime aim of the project was to create 'incidental spaces', explained Kamali. Contractors Murphy and London Paving blocked the entrances to some side roads, creating public spaces which have been planted with
The contractors also tore up blacktop along footpaths and replaced it with high quality York Stone slabs and granite block paving to enhance the setting of architecturally significant buildings.
Traffic calming measures have been implemented in side streets and rat runs eliminated.
Kamali explained that the project was implemented in several phases, to ease traffic management but also because the full funding was not available in one chunk. Work was completed last May.
'The whole thing has regenerated the street,' claimed Kamali. 'Buildings are being refurbished and cleaned.'